14th World Healthcare, Hospital Management, Nursing, and Patient Safety Conference

Track 21: Infection, Prevention and Control

Infection prevention and control
Infection prevention and control (IPC) is a practical, evidence-based approach to preventing avoidable infections from harming patients and health workers. Effective IPC necessitates continuous action at all levels of the health system, including policymakers, facility managers, health workers, and patients. IPC is unique in the field of patient safety and quality of care because it applies to every health worker and patient at every health care interaction. Defective IPC is harmful and can be fatal. It is impossible to achieve quality health care delivery without effective IPC.

Hand hygiene, surgical site infections, injection safety, antimicrobial resistance, and how hospitals operate during and after emergencies are all affected by infection prevention and control. Programs to support IPC are especially important in low- and middle-income countries, where secondary infections can have a negative impact on health care delivery and medical hygiene standards.

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Infection prevention and control (IPC) is a crucial component of healthcare and public health practices aimed at preventing the spread of infections and minimizing the risk of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). It involves a set of measures and guidelines designed to protect individuals, patients, healthcare workers, and the community from the transmission of infectious agents.

Key components of Infection Prevention and Control:

  1. Hand Hygiene: Proper hand hygiene is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of infections. Healthcare workers and individuals should wash their hands regularly with soap and water or use hand sanitizers containing at least 60% alcohol.
  2. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Healthcare workers should use appropriate PPE, such as gloves, masks, gowns, and eye protection, depending on the nature of patient care and potential exposure to infectious agents.
  3. Environmental Cleaning: Regular cleaning and disinfection of surfaces, medical equipment, and healthcare environments help reduce the risk of infections. Proper waste disposal is also critical in preventing the spread of pathogens.
  4. Isolation Precautions: Depending on the type of infection, patients may need to be placed in isolation to prevent the spread of infectious agents. This can include contact precautions, droplet precautions, or airborne precautions.
  5. Immunization: Vaccination is a key strategy in preventing infectious diseases. Maintaining up-to-date immunization for healthcare workers and the general population helps protect against certain communicable diseases.
  6. Education and Training: Healthcare workers should receive ongoing education and training on infection prevention and control measures. This includes understanding the principles of IPC, recognizing signs of infections, and knowing how to use PPE correctly.
  7. Surveillance and Monitoring: Regular monitoring and surveillance of infection rates, both within healthcare facilities and in the community, help identify trends and areas for improvement in infection prevention strategies.
  8. Antibiotic Stewardship: To combat the rise of antibiotic resistance, healthcare facilities should implement programs that promote the appropriate use of antibiotics, ensuring they are prescribed only when necessary and used effectively.
  9. Outbreak Management: In the event of an outbreak, quick and effective management is essential to prevent further spread. This involves rapid identification of cases, implementation of control measures, and communication with relevant stakeholders.

Hand hygiene
Hand hygiene is one of the most basic, yet crucial, steps in IPC (Infection Prevention and Control). Hand hygiene drastically reduces the risk of HAI (Healthcare Associated Infections) at a low cost. Hand hygiene consists of either water-based hand wash or hand rubs (alcohol based). According to WHO standards, hand washing is a solid 7-step process, whereas hand rubs are a 5-step process.

Before patient contact, before putting on protective equipment, before doing procedures, after contact with patient’s skin and surroundings, after contamination of foreign substances, after contact with bodily fluids and wounds, after taking off protective equipment, and after using.

Cleaning, Disinfection, Sterilization
Infection prevention is a field that describes a hierarchy of removing microorganisms from surfaces such as medical equipment and instruments. Cleaning is the most basic level, achieving significant removal. All pathogens other than bacterial spores must be removed during disinfection. The removal or destruction of ALL microorganisms, including bacterial spores, is defined as sterilization.

The first and most basic step in preventing infection spread via surfaces and fomites is to learn. Cleaning reduces microbial burden through chemical dead sorption of organisms (loosening bio burden/organisms from surfaces using cleaning chemicals), simple mechanical removal (rinsing, wiping), and disinfection (killing of organisms by cleaning chemicals).

Personal protective equipment
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is specialized clothing or equipment that workers wear to protect themselves from hazards. Exposure to blood, saliva, or other bodily fluids or aerosols that may contain infectious materials such as Hepatitis C, HIV, or other blood borne or bodily fluid pathogens is a risk in a health care setting. PPE protects the healthcare worker from contact with potentially infectious materials by forming a physical barrier between the potentially infectious material and the healthcare worker.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the United States requires workers to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect against blood-borne pathogens if there is a reasonable expectation as a result of contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials.

Vaccination of health care workers
Certain infections may be transmitted to health care workers as a result of their work. Vaccines are available to provide some protection to healthcare workers. Healthcare workers or first responders may be required to receive vaccinations for hepatitis B, influenza, measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, N. meningitides, and varicella, depending on regulation, recommendation, job function, or personal preference.

Why is it important

  1. Patient Safety: IPC measures protect patients from acquiring infections during their healthcare journey. Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) can lead to prolonged hospital stays, increased morbidity and mortality, and additional healthcare costs. By implementing IPC strategies, the risk of infections is minimized, ensuring better outcomes for patients.
  2. Healthcare Worker Safety: Healthcare workers are at risk of exposure to infectious agents in the course of their duties. Proper IPC measures, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and adherence to hand hygiene practices, protect healthcare workers from acquiring infections and promote their safety and well-being.
  3. Public Health: Controlling the spread of infections within healthcare settings is crucial to preventing outbreaks in the community. Certain pathogens can be transmitted between healthcare facilities and the general population, making IPC a key component of overall public health efforts.
  4. Antibiotic Resistance: Overuse and misuse of antibiotics contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. IPC, including appropriate antibiotic stewardship programs, helps curb the spread of resistant infections, preserving the effectiveness of antibiotics for future use.
  5. Quality of Care: IPC contributes to the overall quality of healthcare services. By preventing infections, healthcare facilities can maintain a high standard of care, reduce complications, and improve the overall patient experience.
  6. Economic Impact: Infections, especially healthcare-associated ones, can lead to increased healthcare costs. Preventing infections through IPC measures can result in cost savings by reducing the need for additional medical interventions, extended hospital stays, and the use of resources to treat complications.
  7. Global Health Security: In an interconnected world, the spread of infectious diseases can have global implications. Effective IPC practices are crucial in preventing the international spread of diseases, particularly in the context of emerging infectious threats and pandemics.
  8. Legal and Regulatory Compliance: Healthcare facilities are often subject to regulations and standards related to infection prevention and control. Compliance with these guidelines is not only essential for legal reasons but also for maintaining accreditation and reputation.
  9. Vulnerable Populations: Certain groups, such as the elderly, immunocompromised individuals, and those with chronic illnesses, are more susceptible to infections. IPC measures are particularly important in protecting these vulnerable populations who may be at a higher risk of severe complications from infections.
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Sub Tracks:

  • Hand Hygiene
  • Placement and Infection Assessment
  • Safe Management and Care of Environment
  • Safe Management of Equipment
  • Safe Management of Linen
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Respiratory and Cough Hygiene
  • Safe Management of Blood and Body Fluids

List of the 10 best Infection prevention and control University in the World

  • Harvard University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • University of Oxford
  • London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • University of Washington
  • Imperial College London
  • University of California–San Francisco
  • University College London
  • University of Melbourne
  • Emory University


Infection Prevention & Control Resources

  • NICE Network webinar: “Disaster Preparedness through the Seasons”
  • NICE Network webinar: “Device Reprocessing and Sterilization”
  • Infection Prevention and Control Infographic
  • ANA/APIC Resource Center
  • CDC’s 2018 National and State Healthcare-Associated Infection Progress Report
  • Personal Protective Equipment for Preventing Contact Transmission of Pathogens: Innovations from CDC’s Prevention Epicenters Program
  • AHRQ’s Healthcare-Associated Infections Program
  • APIC’s Infection Prevention and You website
  • CDC’s Clean Hands Count Campaign
  • CDC’s Influenza (Flu) website
  • OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens and Needlestick Prevention website

-: Universities:-

  • MSc Infection Control
  • Infection Prevention and Control – MSc/PgDip/PgCert
  • Infection Prevention and Control Leadership MSc
  • PG Cert Infection Control
  • MPH Master of Public Health
  • The University Of Hyderabad & Infection Control Academy Of India (IFCAI)
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • University of Washington
  • Imperial College London